Could Joseph and Imhotep have been the same person?

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King Netjerikhet (Pharaoh Djoser) died in the 5th year of the famine and was buried by Imhotep / Joseph

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Djoser reigned for 29 years.  According to the ‘Famine Stele’ located on the Island of Sehel, Imhotep came to Djoser in the 18th year of his reign.  Given that there were 7 good years before the famine started, it can be calculated that Djoser would have died in the 4th or 5th year of the famine.

The Famine Stele also indicates that Djoser and Netjerikhet were the same person.  The term Djoser did not come into common usage until well after Netjerikhet’s death.  It was not until the finding of the Famine Stele that archaeologists could be certain that Netjerikhet and Djoser were the same person.  Until then there was only 18th dynasty vandalism on Netjerikhet’s monuments to indicate that Netjerikhet may have been Djoser.

The Famine Stele tells the tale of Imhotep interpreting Netjerikhet’s (Djoser’s) dream about seven years of plenty and seven years of famine and how Imhotep saved Egypt from a seven year famine.

It says that Djoser gave the land to the priests indicating that Djoser had the rights over the land.  This would further support the notion that Joseph and Imhotep were the same person.

The Bible tells us that Joseph, second in charge of Egypt, acquired all the land of Egypt for the pharaoh, except that of the priests, by the selling of grain during the famine.

Djoser kept the priests on side by giving them an allowance of grain so that they did not have to sell their land.

Were the tunnels under the step Pyramid used to trick robbers or were they used to retrieve grain?

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On careful inspection of the above diagrams, it would appear that the entrance tunnel connects with 4 other tunnels that lead directly to the central chamber where the sarcophagus of Djoser was placed. These tunnels actually go right under the platform on which the sarcophagus was placed. While these tunnels do have branches with blind endings, it is unlikely that somebody would get lost in them and not find the central chamber.

These tunnels would have lead grave robbers straight to the tomb once they had been breached. This is exactly what happened. The mummy of Netjerikhet (Djoser/Zozer) was in fact stolen by grave robbers and all that remains is one of Netjerikhet’s feet.

It is much more likely that the central shaft was originally used as a grain silo and the grain flowed into these underground tunnels to some degree thereby increasing the capacity of the silo and making it safe to retrieve the grain without being buried in it.

There would have been a problem of ventilation and hence the necessity to construct another series of interconnected shafts to store grain very close to the Step Pyramid and accessible through tunnels whose entrance was at the bottom of pits within the walls of the Step Pyramid Complex.

The Step Pyramid complex was originally designed as a grain storage and distribution center. It’s entrance is through a building with tall columns shaped like corn. This building would have been where the corn was traded; a short walk to the pit where the grain was retrieved from the underground tunnels connecting to the grain silos.

When the time came to bury Djoser (Netjerikhet), Joseph / Imhotep constructed a platform at the bottom of the first silo and lined the shaft with ornate limestone. Djosers Sarcophagus was lowered into the shaft from above. The top of the shaft was then sealed with an enormous slab of granite and a mastaba was constructed on top. Successive mastabas were added to bury the other members of Djoser’s family when théy died. Eventually, the stack of mastabas took the form of a Stepped Pyramid. The Stepped Pyramid was eventually faced with smooth limestone which over the centuries has fallen down leaving the Step Pyramid in it’s current state.

The Step Pyramid complex was therefore originally intended to be a grain storage and distribution center in Saqqara. When Jospeh / Imhotep’s pharaoh died, the original shaft was used as a burial chamber for Netjerikhet (Djoser/Zozer) and a mastaba was built on top. Successive mastabas were added to form the Step Pyramid and a Morturary complex was built next to it within the walls of the Step Pyramid complex which continued to be used as a grain storage and distribution center for many centuries.

The Egyptions attributed Jospeh / Imhotep’s achievements to Ra but in fact it was Yahweh / Jehovah who was behind it all!

Imhotep’s mummy has never been found (because Moses took Joseph’s (Imhotep’s) bones with him when the Israelites left Egypt).

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Advance to 24min 24seconds to see the tomb of Djoser

Advance to 37min 24seconds to see the tomb of Imhotep

Who was Imhotep?

This video is a documentary about Imhotep from a secular point of view.

Imhotep was the vizier of Pharaoh Djoser (Netjerikhet) of the 3rd dynasty of Egypt.  He functioned like a Prime Minister, running the country for the King (Pharaoh Djoser).

He was responsible for building the first pyramid in Egypt which is part of a complex containing the tombs of the Pharaoh (accessed by underground tunnels), a mortuary temple, grain silos and buildings that contain columns.

Imhotep has many similarities to the Biblical figure “Joseph”.  He was a commoner.  He lived until the age of 110 years, he married the daughter of the high priest of Heliopolis (capital city On).  He interpreted the dream of the Pharaoh and saved Egypt from a seven year famine.

He was a great architect who made the first building with columns.

He wrote many literary works.  He was the first to use the papyrus.

He performed operations and developed mummification techniques.

He may have served four pharaohs.

He was eventually deified by the Egyptians and the Greeks after his death.

He was embalmed and given a Royal Egyptian burial, however, his mummy has never been found.

If Joseph and Imhotep were the same person, you would not expect to find the mummy of Imhotep in Egypt because the Israelites carried Joseph / Imhotep’s bones with them when they left Egypt at the time of the Exodus.

Genesis 50:25 And Joseph made the Israelites swear an oath and said, “God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up from this place.”

Genesis 50:26 So Joseph died at the age of a hundred and ten. And after they embalmed him, he was placed in a coffin in Egypt.

Exodus 13:19 Moses took the bones of Joseph with him because Joseph had made the Israelites swear an oath. He had said, “God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up with you from this place.”

Joshua 24:32  And Joseph’s bones, which the Israelites had brought up from Egypt, were buried at Shechem in the tract of land that Jacob bought for a hundred pieces of silver from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem. This became the inheritance of Joseph’s descendants.

Hebrews 11:22 By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his bones.

The Bible is silent about what Joseph did for the last 66yrs of his life although the Bible does say that he was able to not only ensure the survival of his family, he was able to protect them as they grew into a great nation numbering over 2 million at the time of the Exodus

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Joseph (son of Jacob) is a key figure in the Old Testament of the Bible , who became a vizier (sage / viceroy) for an Egyptian pharaoh and during this time was responsible for saving ancient Egypt from a seven year famine. Joseph was able to acquire all the land of Egypt (except that of the priests) by selling grain during the famine. In this way, Joseph made the Pharaohs very rich. Joseph was only 30yrs old when he became vizier and 44yrs old when he had saved Egypt and bought up all the land. He lived to the age of 110yrs and was given a royal Egyptian burial. The Bible is silent about what Joseph did for the last 66yrs of his life although the Bible does say that he was able to not only ensure the survival of his family, he was able to protect them as they grew into a great nation numbering over 2 million at the time of the Exodus (which occurred 430 years after Joseph’s family entered Egypt).

The identity Joseph in Egyptian history is debated, but some scholars identify him with Imhotep, who was the vizier during the Third Dynasty under Pharaoh Djoser ( also called Netjerikhet / Zoser).

Given Joseph’s position and achievements, one would expect to find some evidence for his existence in Non-Biblical Egyptian records and archaeological discoveries.

Joseph built silos to store grain in key Egyptian cities. Massive underground silos can be found in many cities of Egypt dating back to the third dynasty. [1] [2] [3] It is not unreasonable to suggest that these may have been built by Joseph. In particular, Joseph may have built the silos associated with the first pyramid built in Egypt (The Step Pyramid which is part of the Djoser Pyramid complex at Saqqara, designed by Imhotep). [4] [5] [6] [7]

The Djoser Pyramid at Saqqara, Egypt. (otherwise known as the ‘Step Pyramid’ or The ‘First Pyramid’ )

Large pits can be found within the Step Pyramid complex at Saqqara. The bottom of the pit can be accessed from an adjacent pit that has stairs. It would have been ideal for storing grain and, most likely, it was used for this purpose. It could have been made by the Hebrew vizier Joseph who had many similarities to the vizier Imhotep who designed the Step Pyramid complex. This has caused many historians to propose that Joseph and Imhotep were the same person.

One of three statues of Imhotep in the Louvre. Imhotep and Joseph may be the same person.

There are many similarities between the profile of Joseph and Imhotep. [8] [9] [10] [5] Imhotep is also credited with saving Egypt from a seven year famine after hearing of the Pharaoh’s dream. Imhotep, like Joseph, was a commoner with some divine connection and was placed second in charge of Egypt by the King (Netjerikhet). [8] Joseph bought up all the land for Pharaoh by selling the grain he stored during the seven years that preceded the famine [11]; a feat that could only have been performed once, early in Egypt’s history, and explains how the Pharaohs became so powerful and able to build the pyramids. Given that Joseph was one of the Patriarchs of Israel, and figures very early in the Biblical record, less than 1000 years after the flood of Noah, it is quite possible that he may have figured in the early parts of Egyptian history, namely the Third Dynasty as the vizier for Pharaoh Djoser. [9][12][13]

Until recently, the most compelling argument against Joseph and Imhotep being the same person, has been the discrepancy between the estimated times during which they lived. [4][14]

Egypt was not always united and sometimes there were different rulers in upper and lower Egypt. Sometimes, a conquering Pharaoh would let regional rulers (Nomarchs) stay on as governors when a new dynasty began (eg 12th dynasty). The division of the kingdom into up to 42 ‘nomes’ (regions or provinces) can be dated back to the Old Kingdom and it continued until the Roman period.

Clearly, there are many problems with the “traditional Egyptian chonology” that assumed the Egyptian dynasties were sequential and did not allow for co-regency and dynasties running in parallel. Evidence is now accumulating to suggest that Egyptian dynasties may overlap and may not date back as far as was once thought. [15][16][17][18]

Egyptian records are not chronological and dates have been calculated from very sketchy notes of third parties who saw the original documents (eg Manetho‘s records in the Alexandrian Library before they were destroyed in a fire). [12] Other documents such as the Turin King list are very fragmented and incomplete. In many cases, all that is known about some pharaohs are their names and how long they reigned. The pharaohs of dynasties 7-11 (the first intermediate period) were not buried in pyramids as were the pharaohs of the Old Kingdom (dynasty’s 3-6) and the Middle Kingdom (dynasty 12). Some pharaohs in this first intermediate period may turn out to be ‘Nomarchs‘ or ‘other high ranking officials’ and not ‘pharaohs’ at all! The result of this is that Egyptian history is probably a lot shorter than previously thought and the pyramids were probably constructed much later than many historians have previously estimated. [19]

If David Down is on the right track with his “modern alignment” of the Egyptian dynasties and allowing for a long sojourn of the Israelites in Egypt of 430 years (Exodus 12:40), it is quite likely that Joseph and Imhotep were the same person, particularly if some pharaohs in dynasties 7-11 (the first intermediate period) turn out to be ‘high ranking officials’ or ‘Nomarchs‘. [20][21][22][23][18]

Grain Silos in Saqqara Egypt built by Joseph!!

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